Gopalpur port repair work delayed

gopalpur portGopalpur port, which is inoperative for last two years, is unlikely to restart operation from next August, as announced by the state government.

The commercial operation of the port, located at Arjeepalli in Odisha’s Ganjam district, has been stalled since October 2013 due to the damage caused by Phailin cyclone. Goplpur Port Limited (GPL), the promoter of the port, had initially expected to restart operation from January 15.

After the company missed the deadline, the state government had asked it reopen the port by August 2015. “We have asked the port authorities to start operation from August 2015,” state’s chief secretary G C Pati told reporters here during his recent visit to Berhampur.

But the port operation is likely to be delayed, as the port authorities have failed to procure the required funds from the banks to expedite the repair works.

A loan of Rs. 250-crore was sanctioned by a foreign bank to Orissa Stevedores Limited (OSL), one of the promoters of the GPL. The loan amount, however, has not been released till now. “When we receive the loan, we will be able to complete the work. The port will restart its commercial operation after receiving the loan amount,” said Manmohan Maharana, one of the directors of GPL. He hoped the loan will be disbursed soon.

The port’s operation came to a standstill after the storm hit the state’s southern coast on October 12, 2013.

Around 950 mtrs of 1730 mtrs long backwater dyke was damaged in the cyclone Phailin. The port had incurred around Rs 250 crore loss due to the storm.

GPL had proposed to enhance the port’s cargo handling capacity from 3.5 million tonne per annum (mtpa) to five mtpa. The last vessel had anchored at the port on October 7, 2013.

The port is being jointly promoted by Odisha Stevedores Limited (OSL) and Sara International Ltd.

GPL has already spent Rs. 850 crore to upgrade the port, which was earlier operating seasonally, to an all-weather facility. The port aims to receive large vessels with 1.25 DWT (dead weight tonnage) capacities by 2016.

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